Climate of Iraq
Where is the country of Iraq located? Iraq is a country in southwestern Asia, belonging to the Middle East political region. Iraq is today best known for the Iraq War and the fight against the terrorist organization Al Qaeda. Even before the Iraq War, Iraq has been the scene of wars several times. In ancient times, the former Mesopotamia, which lay approximately where Iraq is now, had several rulers. Only since 1932, years after the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, has Iraq become the independent country we know today. Iraq has a small stretch of coastline in the southeast, on the Persian Gulf. The landscape of Iraq consists mainly of low-lying desert areas, through which two important rivers flow: the Euphrates and the Tigris. In the far north of Iraq you will find mainly mountainous area, the geographical region of Kurdistan.
The climate of Iraq is characterized by different types of dry and semi-arid climates, where you actually encounter these successive climate types from south to north according to the Köppen climate classification: warm desert climate (BWh), warm steppe climate (BSh), cold steppe climate (type BSk ) and in the northern mountain areas a moderate continental climate (type Dsb). Most of Iraq is a desert landscape, with mild to moderately cool winters and hot, dry summers, mostly cloudless. The number of sunny hours in the summer therefore almost corresponds to the total number of hours of daylight in that period.
Within Iraq’s climate, precipitation plays only a modest role. Most precipitation falls in the winter months, in most regions on average a maximum of a few tens of millimeters in the wettest months. The only exception to this are the mountains in the north, where fairly large amounts of precipitation can fall from November to April. In some places there can be months when the limit of one hundred millimeters is (well) exceeded. In the higher areas of Iraq, precipitation in winter mainly falls in the form of snow, locally sometimes large amounts, so that there can be a thick layer of snow. As a result of the combination of a lot of meltwater and reasonable amounts of rain, floods can occur in the north of Iraq in the spring.
The temperatures in winter mainly depend on the geographical situation and the altitude. In the Euphrates and Tigris river basins, winters are generally mild, with average maximum temperatures between 12 and 20 degrees from December to February. Night frost can well occur during this period, especially on the ground the temperature sometimes drops below freezing. The exception to the mild winters are the mountainous areas in the north, where it can be chilly and snow storms can create appalling conditions. During the short spring (March, April) temperatures skyrocket across the country, with the hottest months of June, July, August and September averaging 38 to 44 degrees during the day, but spikes to the top are very possible. If there is also one of the almost thirty sandstorms on average that plague Iraq every year, then it is actually unbearable in Iraq. The sandstorms mainly occur during the hot summer and especially in the afternoon the chance of these traffic-disrupting storms is greatest.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month|
Best time to visit Iraq
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Iraq? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. The Republic of Iraq is a country centrally located in the Middle East. Iraq is a hot destination both literally and figuratively. The climate makes Iraq one of the hottest countries in the world in summer. In addition, Iraq is a destination where politics often messes up. Internal problems, quarrels with neighboring countries and a difficult relationship with ‘the West’ ensure that Iraq has not been a stable and safe holiday destination for decades. There is almost always something going on. Anyone looking at the current travel advice for Iraq will understand what we mean. If you travel for business, necessary, for private reasons or just want to travel to Iraq for a holiday, we can advise you about the best time to travel based on the weather and climate of Iraq. Iraq can be divided into three areas based on the landscapes and climate. The north is hilly and mountainous. Here you see a mix of the temperate continental climate and the cold steppe climate. Cooler, wet winters and hot, bone-dry summers are characteristic of this Kurdish part of Iraq. The area around and between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris consists of steppe areas with a warm steppe climate. The entire area south of the Tigris consists mainly of desert with the accompanying warm desert climate.
Most pleasant months
Because it is sweltering in Iraq in the summer and the winter months are cooler and, above all, wetter, the best travel periods for Iraq are in the spring and autumn. Based on the temperatures and precipitation, March, April and November are the best time to go to Iraq.
Iraq in the summer
We can only say one thing about Iraq in the summer: stay away from it! Throughout the country, daytime temperatures shoot to maximums of between 35 and 47 degrees Celsius. The entire country is sweltering hot and bone dry from June to August. The chance that you will experience a cooling rain shower is, so to speak, smaller than the chance that you will take a big chance in the Staatsloterij. When the shamal blows, circumstances are the least pleasant. These hot summer winds carry very dry air and often contain desert sand and dust.